Many news media organizations insisted after the beginning of the war in Iraq that they’d learned the lesson that they’re not supposed to set the agenda when it comes to the urge to rush to war.
So it was at least a little significant today when CNN’s Jim Acosta got his chance to ask President Obama a question about why the U.S. isn’t ready to go back to all-out war in Syria and Iraq?
“Why can’t we take out these bastards?” he said, suggesting he speaks for many Americans.
“The shift in tone is remarkable, both in its impatient focus on terrorism after the coordinated murder of 129 people in France, and in demanding accountability from a president who has often received soft treatment in the past,” Fox’s media analyst Howard Kurtz wrote this afternoon. He said the question perfectly summed up the media’s mood.
In the other corner, Daily Beast’s Michael Tomaski called the question “disgraceful.”
So there isn’t a solution. Unless you think a ground war is a solution. Ultimately, it might have to come to that, I suppose. But if it is to come to that, we’re going to have to be a very different country, a more mature and decent country, than we currently are.
We’re going to have to have a draft, so that all this doesn’t fall on the same 1 percent of the population that’s already suffering and committing suicides in intolerable numbers; and we’re going to have to convert some portion of the economy to war footing.
Because it’ll be a real war that can’t be won by having people going out and doing more shopping, as they urged us to do after 9/11.
It’s going to be brutal. And not for the three or four years it might take to vanquish ISIS, but for 20 or so, because as we’re still learning in Iraq, who do these idiot critics think is going to come in and run Syria, some latter-day incarnation of Vaclav Havel?
Is the question representative of a national media growing more hawkish in the wake of Friday’s attacks in Paris?
“I just wanted to ask something that’s on all our minds. Plain and simple,” Acosta told Huffington Post.
It was a tough question, but it wasn’t the toughest question that could have been asked. Writing in Esquire over the weekend, Charles Pierce provided the basis for one in a searing commentary on the United States’ Middle East “allies” who fund ISIS through protection money.
It’s time for this to stop. It’s time to be pitiless against the bankers and against the people who invest in murder to assure their own survival in power.
Assets from these states should be frozen, all over the west. Money trails should be followed, wherever they lead. People should go to jail, in every country in the world. It should be done state-to-state. Stop funding the murder of our citizens and you can have your money back. Maybe.
If we’re satisfied that you’ll stop doing it. And, it goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – not another bullet will be sold to you, let alone advanced warplanes, until this act gets cleaned up to our satisfaction. If that endangers your political position back home, that’s your problem, not ours. You are no longer trusted allies.
Complain, and your diplomats will be going home. Complain more loudly, and your diplomats will be investigated and, if necessary, detained. Retaliate, and you do not want to know what will happen, but it will done with cold, reasoned and, yes, pitiless calculation.
It will not be a blind punch. You will not see it coming. It will not be an attack on your faith. It will be an attack on how you conduct your business as sovereign states in a world full of sovereign states.